Sharjah Media City looks to lure game developers as it invests Dh50m in new buildings

Shams plans to finish construction of three buildings by mid-2020 and invest in technology to help media firms grow, chairman says

SHARJAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , Nov 11  – 2019 :- Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City (Shams) at the Sharjah FDI Forum held at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah. ( Pawan Singh / The National )  For Business. Story by Sarmad
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Sharjah Media City, or Shams as it is known, is investing Dh50 million in the construction of three new buildings and plans to finish the project by mid-2020 as it looks to attract more media and gaming companies to the free zone, its chairman said.

There are other components of the project, which could add to the initial cost estimates, Khalid Al Midfa told reporters on the sidelines of Sharjah FDI Forum on Monday.

Shams in its entirety is spread over 1 million square metres. The land plot on which the three buildings with 6,000 square metres of built up area, is 64,000 square metres, just 5 to 6 per cent of the of the available land, he said.

“It is a big project …. [and] we have big plans,” Mr Al Midfas said, without giving details of the next phases of development.

Shams, which was set up in 2017, has so far licensed 4,000 companies, more than 2,200 in the first year alone. The pace of growth of the new licences slowed in the subsequent year but it has been “good”, he noted.

“We are not behind the numbers [in terms] of [new] companies anymore, but rather proper utilisation of the services that we are offering [in the new buildings],” he said when asked about the company growth targets over the next few years.

The media free zone in Sharjah, he said, has learnt from the existing media and production hubs in region, who have invested large amounts of capital on creating state-of-the-art infrastructure. Shams is investing wisely as technology has evolved in a way that does not require big building but investments in new technologies and add-on services, which could enable new companies to start their ventures faster.

“This is where we are investing. We are investing into technology and accessibility [for the firms] to different markets within the UAE and outside,” he explained.

The new buildings, he said, would be equipped with modern voice and video production facilities and studios for game developers.

“Game developers and we are even targeting gamers themselves … those are the people we are targeting [in the industry],” he noted.